2008 Hugo Awards Countdown: Best Related Book

Definition: related book

A book that isn’t a science fiction or fantasy story presented in text (or mostly text). This includes books that present material about the genre, usually in the form of essays or art, as well as picture books and graphic novels.

I must add that the final nominee in this category is rather unique.

Nominees for Best Related Book

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The Company They Keep:
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community

– Diana Palvac Glyer
– appendix by David Bratman


C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are generally remembered as authors of creative fantasy, but both men made their living teaching at Oxford University. Lewis was a Fellow of Magdalen College, serving as a tutor in English Language and Literature; Tolkien was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, and later became Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College.

The two men met at a faculty meeting on 11 May 1926. Lewis’s first impression of Tolkien was not particularly favorable. In his diary, he describes Tolkien as “a smooth, pale, fluent little chap.” Lewis adds, “No harm in him: only needs a smack or so.”

It got worse. As Lewis and Tolkien grew to know one another, it became clear they had a number of fundamental disagreements, including differences in religious convictions and academic loyalties. Lewis writes, “At my first coming into the world I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a Papist, and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both.”

Hard Copy
at Amazon.com; Kent State University Press
Chapter One Online:
Author Websites
Diana Pavlac Glyer
David Bratman
Breakfast in the Ruins – Barry Malzberg


The Number of the Beast

Well, what is it? Fifty experts—as the old Yiddish saying might have it—will produce fifty-one definitions. Still, we all try; here I am in Collier’s Encyclopedia:

“Science fiction is that form of literature which deals with the effects of technological change in an imagined future, an alternative present or a reconceived history.”

Workable and cautious, but it does not evade what could be called the Arrowsmith problem—Sinclair Lewis’s novel, that is, which all of us science-fictioneers would instinctively agree is not of the genre, would probably fall into it under the terms of this definition. Certainly, technological (medical) change is an important aspect of this novel as are the effects of science upon the protagonist and his marriage. Clearly, my definition would also exclude some of the whimsical short stories of Robert Sheckley, whose bemused characters face the absurdities of a slightly disorienting metaphysics in the recognizable present: there is nothing technological about these stories, much less concern with technological change, and yet they appeared, most of them, in Horace Gold’s Galaxy and fit indistinguishably into the format of that magazine. On the basis of this kind of work Sheckley was recognized in his early career as one of the most promising of the new writers. My definition would also exclude Randall Garrett’s Darcy series, whose novels and novelette depict an alternate present in which magic has assumed the role of science and modern science never found its way into being discovered. Change, to be sure, but not technological change: here is genre science fiction that deals with technological absence.

Hard Copy
at Amazon.com; Baen Books
Electronic Copy
At Wikipedia
Barry N. Malzberg
Emshwiller: Infinity x Two
– Luis Ortiz
– Introduction by Carol Emshwiller
– Forward by Alex Eisenstein


Hard Copy
at Amazon.com; Nonstop Press
Preview Pages
Author Websites
Luis Ortiz
Carol Emshwiller
No site for Alex Eisenstein, but here’s his essay “The Time Machine and the End of Man”.
Hard Copy
at Amazon.com; Oxford University Press
Author Website and Blog
Excerpt from post The lexicographer responds to his critics, or, A defense of fanspeak:

Several reviewers have commented, in less than glowing terms, on my inclusion of fannish words in Brave New Words. (It’s also worth noting that some reviewers liked the fannish entries. I wonder, but have no way to really determine this, if the response has anything to do with the relative fannishness of the reviewer.) Generally speaking, one of the main things people like to do with dictionaries is complain about words that aren’t included that they think should be, or about words that are included that they think shouldn’t be.


The Arrival – Shaun Tan


Hard Copy
at Amazon.com; Arthur Levine/Scholastic Press
More Previews
Author Website

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